Ministers also address energy efficiency, biofuels, energy technologies and innovation
Under the chairmanship of Irish Energy Minister, Pat Rabbitte T.D, European Energy Ministers took stock of the conclusions adopted at the European Council on 22 May, with regard to the internal energy market, energy efficiency, interconnections and the diversification of energy sources.
Ministers were presented with a progress report on the ILUC proposal (concerning the Directive on biofuels) and noted that a further meeting of the working group on this complex subject would be held under the Irish Presidency.
A set of Council conclusions was adopted on the Commission’s Communication on the Internal Energy Market, in direct continuation of the discussions held at the April Informal meeting of EU Energy ministers and the more recent European Council.
Concerning the Commission’s Communication on Energy Technologies and Innovation, the Council held an extensive debate on the need for increased focus on innovation policy to address research and development, the deployment of new technologies, and the putting in place of support mechanisms for accelerated roll-out and implementation of sustainable energy technologies. There was also discussion on how to improve and reinforce the existing institutional frameworks which support a more integrated approach to innovation and technology development, including strengthening the Strategic Energy Technology (SET) Plan. The successful adoption of the conclusions on the Communication represents a signal from Energy Ministers to all market actors to accelerate their work on completing the internal energy market.
Ministers were also briefed on the current state of affairs with regard to international relations in the field of energy; notably the expanding exploration and utilisation of unconventional oil and gas resources globally.
The strategic importance of the Connecting Europe facility (CEF) was emphasised by the Minister he stated that “This is a key instrument for targeted investment which will help us achieve our aims on the internal market and boost jobs”.
Finally, the Council was informed of the energy policy priorities of the Lithuanian Presidency under the heading of ‘Growing Europe’.
Minister Rabbitte, noting a successful conclusion to Ireland’s Presidency in the field of energy stated: “I firstly wish every success to the incoming Lithuanian Presidency and am confident that they will continue the policies I have overseen. Responsible development of our energy resources, and innovation in the ways in which we consume them, are vital to maintaining European competitiveness and keeping prices down for both households and business.”
“The Council conclusions adopted today will help bring the rhetoric on the Internal Energy Market a significant step closer to actions. The Council had discussed the issue in-depth last month and reaffirmed the commitment to complete the transition to the energy market of the future by 2014. The details of how to achieve this deadline have now been laid out and we will pursue them as a matter of urgency.”
“The Energy Informal meeting in Dublin earlier this year has helped to lay the groundwork for Europe’s post-2020 emissions targets. Reductions in emissions means reduction in our consumption of fossil fuels, and this can only be achieved through the implementation of binding targets and energy efficiency technologies. Nearly 40% of final energy is consumed in homes, offices and shops, and our responsibility as representatives is to support retrofit initiatives financially, bearing in the mind the employment opportunities this industry promises.”
Minister Rabbitte also recalled that the Irish Presidency had concluded discussions on the Directive on Safety of offshore Oil and Gas Operations “ This Directive which aims to ensure consistent use of best practices in safety by oil and gas offshore operators registered in the EU – the ultimate aim obviously was to improve safety in extremely challenging environments and ensure that operators are doing all they should to help prevent a repeat of disasters such as Deep Water Horizon. Securing agreement on this issue was a priority for me and my officials. Significant work has been done at Cyprus Presidency but I am pleased that we achieved this so early in our presidency”
“I look forward to working further with my European colleagues under the Lithuanian stewardship of this forum and remain optimistic and confident about Europe and Ireland’s potential to become world leaders in energy efficiency standards, climate change prevention methods, and sustainable exploitation of natural resources.”